Overweight and obesity among Iranian female adolescents in Rasht: more overweight in the lower social group

Mohsen Maddah
Public Health Nutrition 2007, 10 (5): 450-3

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the frequency of overweight and obesity among Iranian adolescent girls aged 14-17 years and its possible association with maternal education in Rasht city in 2005.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey on 1054 schoolgirls.

SETTING: High schools in Rasht city, Iran.

METHODS: A multistage sampling method was used and 1054 randomly selected schoolgirls were studied. Data on age and mother's years of schooling were collected by questionnaire and body weight and height were measured. Overweight and obesity were defined using age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) cut-off points proposed by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), and compared with 85th and 95th BMI percentile curves of the IOTF reference population, respectively. Data analyses included two groups based on mother's years of schooling: less educated ( < 12 years) and more educated ( > or = 12 years).

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity in this population was 21.9 and 5.3%, respectively. Results of logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of overweight was higher for lower age group (odds ratio = 2.0, 95% confidence interval 0.18-3.09). Overweight was more common in girls with less educated mothers than in girls with more educated mothers (26.0 vs. 19.8%, P = 0.03).

CONCLUSION: These data indicate that overweight is highly prevalent among adolescent girls, especially in lower social groups in Rasht, and the rate is exceeding those reported in other parts of the country. Preventive strategies need to be adopted to combat the epidemic of overweight and obesity in this population.

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